Bond of a Lifetime
DR. GLENN A. SISK
It’s that time of year. We can all sense it. Cupid’s up there flying around, and there’s this feeling like his next target could be you. Suddenly, you meet that person and it’s sensational. Every little moment feels electric. You’re sitting at the dinner table, you both go for the salt and there’s nothing but sparks. Then two years down the line, or maybe ten, passing the salt blandly while checking email is the height of your interaction.
Why does this happen? Does true love fade so easily? What’s really going on here? Having been in a few relationships in my life, I’ve thought about these questions a lot. What I’ve found is that often, the electricity you feel during that period of acquaintance—of getting to know someone for the first time—can easily be confused with “this is the one.”
Part of the problem is that when you turn a feeling into an expectation too quickly, you might block yourself from experiencing true intimacy at all. But that might not be what this relationship is about, anyway. Perhaps the relationship has something else to teach you—and that’s okay. In fact until we’re okay with that, we might not be ready for more.
We all meet many people in this lifetime with whom we’ll experience that rush of mutual attraction, admiration and respect. There can be love, but love doesn’t necessarily mean you’re meant to be together for the rest of your life.
If you’re looking for a relationship that is vital and strong enough to last a lifetime, you have to be ready. It takes inner work, courage and openness to be available for true intimacy. There’s a lot of fear involved in allowing someone to come to your center. Once you drop all the games, the conditioning and the past heartaches, you’re wide open and this person can do anything they want.
For most of us, we go through a lot before we’re fully available for that. We often fear having to give up our freedom (sometimes unconsciously). The irony is that when you’re merged with your soulmate, there’s actually more freedom, because it’s no longer about control. It’s no longer about being right, having your way, getting even, or punishing. You are totally fine with being wrong, so you get to be yourself. Expectations and power dynamics are replaced with total understanding and unity.
You might know a handful of relationships like these, where people have been together for a very long time in a way that’s encouraging, beautiful and loving. They share something vital and indescribable that you can feel in their presence, and yet they each have distinct identities as individuals. Together, they are stronger in themselves, not weaker.
More common are couples who share strong feelings for each other, but are caught in co-dependence, looking to the other for approval or as an anecdote to an insecurity. Many of us find ourselves in a co-dependent relationship at least once in our lives (including me, several times). Typically what happens is you fall in love, but you stay together for the wrong reasons. You inevitably create a dynamic of power imbalance and control.
An imbalance means you are no longer one, but two. The sense of separation allows opportunities for judgement and blame. Each negative thought, comment or action becomes another brick in the wall. Eventually so many have been laid that you’re not even talking anymore. You can share a space, yet be living in completely different emotional and mental worlds.
When you have unity, you accept full responsibility. When your lover comes to you with negative
feedback, and you find yourself saying “I need to change, I need to do better,” then you know you have the essence of a true beautiful relationship. You know how to love and forgive yourself instantly, and you can do the same for your partner as if you are one.
That kind of unconditional love is what a lasting relationship is all about. Most of the time, you don’t have to think—it’s simply second nature to demonstrate kindness and affection. The deep intimacy and knowing of that exchange is what allows you both to be who you truly are.
If you know that kind of relationship is what you want to create this year, I highly recommend you read David Deida’s book the Way of the Superior Man. No matter how you choose put yourself out there, be prudent. If Cupid gets you, check it out, have some fun, but don’t get caught up in expectations, or think you have to be anyone other than who you are.
Let yourself get to know your new lover before you jump to any conclusions. Along the way, check in with your gut—is this person really going to drop their walls and let you in? Are they ready for the kind of intimacy that you desire? Take it day by day, and stay open. When you have that indescribable love that just is, you’ll know.